NEW YORK, N.Y. – John McCain's campaign has floated the possibility that Sarah Palin may also suspend her campaign, matching McCain’s announcement that he would cease campaigning for president to return to Washington to try to hammer out a fix for the nation’s financial meltdown.
As the governor of Alaska, Palin cannot participate in the high-level federal government deliberations on the economy that McCain gave as his reason for suspending his campaign.
Yet, after McCain’s dramatic announcement, his campaign chief Steve Schmidt suggested Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, would also suspend her campaign.
“We're going to take the ads down. They won't be traveling. There won’t be rallies,” Schmidt said when asked about Palin’s campaign, according to a rough transcription provided to reporters.
Democrats have blasted McCain’s move, which includes a call to reschedule his planned Friday debate with Democratic rival Barack Obama, as political posturing, rather than a genuine effort to address the economic crisis.
Asked about Schmidt’s comment, given Palin’s inability to participate in congressional deliberations, spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt told reporters on a Wednesday evening conference call “We are part of the McCain-Palin campaign. It is one ticket.”
But she demurred when asked specifically whether Palin, too, would be suspending her campaign.
“I think Sen. McCain was clear about what it meant that he was suspending his campaign,” Schmitt said, “So, if we have any announcements, any updates about her schedule, we will certainly let you know.”
Schmitt pointed out that Palin’s schedule has only been released through Friday and said that she has no public events planned after she attends a Thursday morning speech McCain is slated to deliver here to the Clinton Global Initiative.
McCain’s announcement puts Palin in a tricky spot.
If Palin continues campaigning, even at a less-than-full schedule, she will be in the mostly unaccustomed position of doing so without McCain by her side and would likely face more criticism if she continued evading the press on the campaign trail.
But if she suspends her campaign, Democrats are sure to pounce on the move as more evidence that the suspension is political.
Even before McCain’s announcement, Palin’s campaign schedule was far from rigorous.
Since Palin was selected as McCain’s running mate in late August, she’s appeared at 21 rallies, most of which were at McCain’s side, has yet to hold a press conference, has conducted less than a handful of national media interviews and has pulled out of several fundraising appearances.